Victoria’s building authority has found Melbourne’s tallest building, the Eureka Tower, has a small amount of highly combustible cladding – but says it doesn’t pose a risk.
A VBA audit of 170 buildings in Melbourne’s CBD found 51 per cent of those checked have the cladding, including the Eureka Tower, but the majority of buildings affected have been cleared of any risk.
The audit was launched after a November 2014 fire at Lacrosse Tower in Melbourne’s high-density Docklands precinct was found to have been fuelled by the use of the non-compliant plastic-core aluminium cladding, which is so flammable the CSIRO had to abandon fire testing for fear of destroying their equipment.
The 312 owners of apartment in the Lacrosse Tower have since been ordered to replace the non-compliant cladding at a cost to themselves of at least $40 million.
“Only two buildings, including the Lacrosse Tower in Docklands, have been issued with an emergency order to remove the cladding immediately”, a VBA spokesman has said.
The fire raced up more than 20 storeys in just six minutes as flaming debris rained down below.
While no one was injured, the fast-moving blaze caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage to the building.
It has also been revealed that up to 2500 high-rise buildings in Sydney could also contain the same type of flammable cladding, which imported cheaply from Asia has become popular with developers and builders particularly during Australia’s apartment building boom.
Some of Australia’s largest construction companies have been named as using the highly flammable material on well-known Melbourne skyscrapers, including the Victorian government’s signature health development, the $250 million Royal Women’s Hospital, has also been found to contain the dangerous material.
Dozens of people have died from facade fires caused by the panelling with the plastic core. Most recently on New Year’s Eve, Dubai’s The Address Hotel was engulfed in flames in a blaze widely believed to have been fuelled by the plastic-core cladding.